Dangerous front lights

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Biospace
Posts: 30
Joined: 24 Jun 2019, 12:23pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby Biospace » 11 Jan 2021, 1:21pm

I value the OP's honesty in raising this point, to assume the brain should always be able to see, perceive or anticipate unlit bodies on a dark night is surely to deliberately expose yourself to unnecessary danger? Split-second decisions are made all the time on roads, people are frequently stressed and tired and if it's partially luck which makes other road users check a third or fourth time that what looks to be a car really is, then surely it makes sense to alter your lighting arrangement so this isn't the case?

Perhaps it's time for a fresh look at vehicle lighting given it's been years since there was a comprehensive review. Things are clearly a mess and it's very nearly a free-for-all now the police aren't expected to actively encourage safe and courteous driving, added to zero driver education. The intensity and arrangement of many vehicle headlights is so clearly dangerous, that they're added for profit rather than safety should be the clue the legislation must change.

I've encountered more than one cyclist in the dark both as motorist and cyclist whose lighting arrangement tricked my mind into believing, for a short while, they were a car. I don't believe it's prejudicial against cyclists to suggest our lighting should not risk being a factor in creating even more potential danger.

pwa
Posts: 13659
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby pwa » 11 Jan 2021, 2:57pm

Biospace wrote:I value the OP's honesty in raising this point, to assume the brain should always be able to see, perceive or anticipate unlit bodies on a dark night is surely to deliberately expose yourself to unnecessary danger? Split-second decisions are made all the time on roads, people are frequently stressed and tired and if it's partially luck which makes other road users check a third or fourth time that what looks to be a car really is, then surely it makes sense to alter your lighting arrangement so this isn't the case?

Perhaps it's time for a fresh look at vehicle lighting given it's been years since there was a comprehensive review. Things are clearly a mess and it's very nearly a free-for-all now the police aren't expected to actively encourage safe and courteous driving, added to zero driver education. The intensity and arrangement of many vehicle headlights is so clearly dangerous, that they're added for profit rather than safety should be the clue the legislation must change.

I've encountered more than one cyclist in the dark both as motorist and cyclist whose lighting arrangement tricked my mind into believing, for a short while, they were a car. I don't believe it's prejudicial against cyclists to suggest our lighting should not risk being a factor in creating even more potential danger.

Especially when the solution could be as simple as putting the two lights as close to each other as possible, which could be a five minute operation.

JohnW
Posts: 6448
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby JohnW » 11 Jan 2021, 11:51pm

Earl Spool wrote:I was driving along a dark lane this evening and needed to pull into the middle of the road in order to reverse into a driveway. There was a car quite a long way off and coming along slowly, so that was OK. I pulled across - and suddenly a cyclist materialised from nowhere, swerving to avoid me, gave me an earful and rode off. Turned out the two headlights I thought were a car were two lights on his handlebar, bright and set close together so they looked exactly like a car a long way away. (My passenger thought exactly the same). It seems to me that any combination of two front lights is likely to do that, given how many cars go around with one bright and one dim front light. But two the same, and with car-headlight brightness, are especially dangerous.

I've only just seen this thread.
You saw him. You've no excuse.
It's good to have lights strong enough for a motorist to see.
The trouble is that they keep making the wrong judgement...........impersonating a car indeed!

A flashing front light is sure to aggravate a motorist, but at least it identifies a cyclist as such.
What is everyone's take on flashing front lights?
Perhaps there's a case here for hi-viz reflective clothing - which actually I always wear.
Last edited by JohnW on 11 Jan 2021, 11:59pm, edited 1 time in total.

JohnW
Posts: 6448
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby JohnW » 11 Jan 2021, 11:56pm

Post deleted - repeats last line of previous post.
My fault- apologies.
Last edited by JohnW on 12 Jan 2021, 10:45am, edited 1 time in total.

Jdsk
Posts: 5212
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby Jdsk » 11 Jan 2021, 11:59pm

JohnW wrote:What is everyone's take on flashing front lights?

My back-up front battery light is set to flash, except on narrow dark roads when I don't like the sensation.

I also have a flashing front helmet light that doesn't dazzle.

Jonathan

JohnW
Posts: 6448
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby JohnW » 12 Jan 2021, 12:01am

Jdsk wrote:
JohnW wrote:What is everyone's take on flashing front lights?

My back-up front battery light is set to flash, except on narrow dark roads when I don't like the sensation.

I also have a flashing front helmet light that doesn't dazzle.

Jonathan

Dazzle can be a problem, especially on greenways/cyclepaths in the dark.

Brucey
Posts: 42194
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby Brucey » 12 Jan 2021, 7:53am

this illustration shows nicely why some beam shapes are no good for road riding and mainly serve to dazzle others.

Image

however I'm not sure that #2 really exists; IME real lights with axisymmetric beams have no discernible cutoff and practically need to be pointed at the ground before they won't dazzle oncomers.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

pwa
Posts: 13659
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby pwa » 12 Jan 2021, 9:29am

But the point here is that by having two front lights so close together that they are almost touching, we can make it look to oncoming traffic almost like one single light source, removing any possibility of misinterpretation. That is so easy to do, why would anyone not do it? My two front lights have been so close as to almost touch for decades now.

Bmblbzzz
Posts: 3753
Joined: 18 May 2012, 7:56pm
Location: From here to there.

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby Bmblbzzz » 15 Jan 2021, 8:32pm

That does depend rather on the configuration of the bars, fork crown, stem, any front luggage, etc.

atoz
Posts: 426
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 4:50pm

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby atoz » 17 Jan 2021, 10:18am

I appreciate that modern rechargeable front lights needed mounting carefully to avoid dazzle to other road users. That being said I would not want to back to the days of "Never Readys" when it was touch and go if a driver could see you in time. And my late parents used to tell me horror stories of using "Bobbie Dodgers".

There have been times when I have had to use my brightest setting on my front light, in particular on one occasion of very dense fog which was not forecast. In this respect the Good Old Days were really the Bad Old Days, and I would not want to go back to them.

Pebble
Posts: 441
Joined: 7 Jun 2020, 11:59pm

Re: Dangerous front lights

Postby Pebble » 17 Jan 2021, 10:56am

pwa wrote:But the point here is that by having two front lights so close together that they are almost touching, we can make it look to oncoming traffic almost like one single light source, removing any possibility of misinterpretation. That is so easy to do, why would anyone not do it? My two front lights have been so close as to almost touch for decades now.

two lights here close together
see from 37 seconds in
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-Qzet40A0s